Accounting and Finance Insights Series – Commercial Manager

Hunter Campbell are invested in the future of the Accounting and Finance profession. Using our technical understanding and specialist expertise we bring you the Hunter Campbell Accounting and Finance Insights Series. Profiling roles within the Accounting and Finance sector, including jobs in demand, wages and employment prospects with a feature on how this has been impacted by Covid.   

In our first article we spotlight the role of Commercial Manager, also commonly referred to as Commercial Finance Manager or Commercial Lead.  

Purpose of the role 

Typically reporting into the CFO, COO or Senior Management, a Commercial Manager plays a key role in the design, delivery and execution of the strategy of the business. A key aim of the role is to drive the profits of a business through connecting the senior management’s long term strategic plan to reality, focusing on clear budgeting, forecasting, and commercial analysis. Commercial Managers work closely with the operations of a business to understand, influence and improve performance. As well as heads of other divisions; Sales, Marketing, S&OP, IT, HR etc. Responsible for building and delivering regular budget and forecast models Commercial Managers are also tasked with delivering analysis, data, reports and commentary to allow the business to make strategic decisions. At times the Commercial Manager can be quite an ad-hoc role, with the freedom to look into business trends and performance to advise the business on performance, business risks and opportunities. This role will often have an element of pricing as part of its key duties and may have a focus on cost management (spend) for the business units that it’s responsible for.  

Skills required 

  • CA/CPA (or equivalent) qualified – ideal, not essential 
  • Analytically advanced – financial modeling skills 
  • Strong communication, business partnering, stakeholder engagement skills – the ability to influence challenging stakeholders (non-finance in particular) 
  • Good with ERP systems as well as strong Microsoft Excel and now business intelligence tools 
  • Commercially savvy with an ability to develop an in-depth understanding of key business drivers 
  • Solid budgeting and forecasting experience 
  • Good at manipulating large sets of data 

Career advice / prospects 

A Commercial Manager will most likely progress through a management accounting, financial analyst, commercial analyst, finance business partner route – a role that has exposure to budgeting, forecasting, ad-hoc analysis and business partnering, stakeholder engagement/influencing. After spending a number of years in a commercially focused and business partnering role you would then be likely to progress into a Commercial Manager position. Roles to follow on from CM/CFM could be; Head of Commercial (Finance), GM Commercial (Finance), HoF, CFO, COO. 

In the past 12 months we have seen these roles across a wider variety of industries. Some notable ones being; FMCG, Healthcare, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Retail. Businesses of all sizes have been recruiting these roles, in SME’s there tends to be one CFM who looks across the whole business. In larger corporates there tends to be multiple CFM’s looking after specific business units or areas of a business 

Recruitment forecast / Covid impacts 

Since Covid and lockdowns there had been a big push for more technical accounting roles as opposed to commercial accounting, CFM roles included. However, we are now seeing more and more commercial accounting roles come back to market. This is due to businesses craving insight and foresight into their performance, and future growth potential. Business are now more confident in succeeding and less risk-averse, so although there was a slight drop in these roles from 2020 to 2021 we have seen some early signs in 2022 that they will be more common again this year. 

Salary guide / trends 

  • Junior; $120,000 – $140,000 
  • Intermediate; $140,000 – $160,000 
  • Senior, $160,000 – $200,000 

These salaries will vary depending on the industry, company size and levels of responsibility. Typically, a Junior salary would be appropriate for a stand-alone position, whereas the Intermediate and Senior salary guide would be relevant for medium and large businesses that have some level of complexity and are likely to have some people leadership responsibility too. 

If you would like to find out more about the role of Commercial Manager, please contact Chris Cooper. Chris specialises in Permanent recruitment solutions in the Accounting and Finance sector: CFO, Head of Finance, Finance Managers & Controllers, Commercial Manager, Head of FP&A, Head of Financial Reporting, Finance Business Partner, Senior Financial/Commercial Analyst, Senior Management Accountant, Senior Financial Accountant, Group Accountant.

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